Thursday, April 16, 2009

Crazy English Trivia #1

Stuart was doing an online English Road Test yesterday, just to see how well he would do, and it was interesting how many things we just had no idea about, like some of the road signs, or converting miles to km for stopping times etc. One of the things that had us baffled was the mention of a Puffin Crossing, which I just figured was another name for a normal old Pedestrian Crossing. But I was intrigued, so I looked it up and discovered that it's not a normal old Pedestrian Crossing at all: it's a Pedestrian User-Friendly Intelligent Crossing! Apparently it's a fancy crossing with sensors that detect when there's someone waiting to cross, or if someone's crossing the road.

But not only that -- they have lots of other funny names for crossing. There's the Pelican (Pelicon?) Crossing (Pedestrian Light Controlled) which is your normal light-controlled crossing, the Toucan Crossing which is so-called because it's for both pedestrians and cyclists (i.e. two can cross the road, haha), and a Pegasus Crossing which is for horses as well, and has a button up high for the rider to press. We actually saw some of these in town around Hyde Park and St James's Park, but had no idea they had such a fancy name. And of course there is the humble old Zebra Crossing too, familiar to us all, but which now has a step-brother: the Tiger Crossing, which has yellow lines instead of white, and is for cyclists too.

Anyway, I found it fascinating and a bit ridiculous that they had all these weird names for crossings. Isn't just 'Pedestrian Crossing' enough?

If you're interested in how all these crossings work, you can read about them at Learner Driving.


  1. I love a good Great British roundabout.

  2. Wow I had no idea that the world contained such a complex array of crossings. I feel enlightened.